Merchandise exports by the Philippines continued to be resilient despite escalating US-China trade frictions and global slowdown, partly due to continued market access in Southeast Asia, Japan, the European Union (EU), as well as U.S. and China, said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Export growth was positive for the 4th-straight month in July at 3.5% year-on-year (YOY), as the country’s exports to U.S. and China expanded 8.9% and 8.5% YOY, respectively.

In July, the U.S. was the Philippines’ biggest export market with 16.9% export share while China was the 3rd-largest at 13.9% share.

“Market access into China has improved in light of closer trade relations.”

“Our market access into the U.S. has been supported by the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which accords duty-free status to more than 3,000 products, as well as EU which gives GSP+ duty-free status to over 6,000 products. Also, market access into China has improved in light of closer trade relations with the Philippines reinforced by DTI’s more intense export promotion efforts,” Lopez said.

The Philippines stood as the 3rd best export performer in the list of 11 Asian trade-oriented economies.

As a result, the Philippines stood as the 3rd-best export performer in the list of 11 Asian trade-oriented economies for the month, next only to Vietnam and Thailand.

Meanwhile, the June export growth rate was revised upward to 3.3% from 1.5%.

Bigger Philippine exports of electronics, machinery and transport equipment, fruits and vegetables (led by bananas), gold and other mineral products, largely contributed to the July performance.

Meanwhile, merchandise imports fell 4.2% in July, its 4th-consecutive month of decline, mainly weighed by a double-digit decrease in the importation of raw materials and intermediate goods. As a result of the positive exports and negative imports, the trade-in-goods deficit narrowed 15.5% YOY for the month.

In January to July 2019, Philippine merchandise exports edged up 0.1% YOY to $40.4 billion supported by the U.S. (+9.8%) and China (+8.6%). In contrast, cumulative merchandise imports were down 1.5% YOY at $62.7 billion. With this, the cumulative merchandise trade deficit shrank 4.1% YOY to $22.3 billion.

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